Three Forms most used by Purchasing Professionals (2020)

Procurement Forms by RFQPro

Three (3) Forms used by Purchasing Professionals

In order to manage the need to purchase supplies and services, purchasing professionals utilize certain forms to obtain the internally requested products or services.

When it comes to the 3 forms most used by purchasing professionals it is likely you are already familiar with some or all of these standard forms. For example, the Request for Proposal; Request for Quotation;  Invitation to Bid and there are many others.

  1. Request for Proposal (RFP) – The RFP is likely now the most common or go to form for procurement or purchasing personnel. It is often used to buy straight forward spend, which in our opinion is overkill and potentially problematic.  Whaaat!  Hold on, RFP’s do have their place and in many instances they are the best document for the job. RFP’s can be used in many situations — for example when looking for an expert to provide a solution to a need which may differ from proposal to proposal; when you have a detailed scope of work with equipment and labor; and there are many others.  Just remember, a RFP is subject to interpretation so ensure it is very clear on the need. Never write an RFP for the first time as this is when mistakes will surface AND never start with a blank piece of paper — find templates, examples or models to help you with development.
  2. Request for Quotation (RFQ) – Some would argue that the RFQ is no longer relevant or is no longer the form of choice as it has been replaced by the Request for Proposal (RFP) form.  The RFQ form is used when a Buyer is looking to purchase a commodity with little desire or ability to accept an alternative.  For example, there is a description, a part #, unit of measure and a specific quantity needed.  It is a straight forward buy.  We need 10 widgets and please quote me price and delivery on these 10 widgets.
  3. Invitation to Bid (ITB) – The ITB is also one of the many procurement forms in circulation today. It is similar to a RFQ in that it is an invite from a Buyer to a potential Supplier to offer a product or service for a cost. The ITB is a more formal document and along with the offer there might be a set of conditions.  If you accept the offer from the Supplier the conditions form part of the acceptance.

While most of these procurement forms are relatively straight forward, the Request for Proposal is a form that has continued to evolve since its first started to appear in the early ’80’s. RFP’s have become more prevalent and continue to be refined. Regardless, companies that purchase goods and services need procurement forms to help manage their business. These forms are used when your selection criteria might include factors other than price, like service capabilities or technical support.

Role players in an RFP / RFQ

Along with the types of forms we thought it might be beneficial to define or explain the players: Typically there are 3 or 4 role players in the RFP or RFQ process:

  1. tenderer aka Supplier / Offeror / Vendor / Bidder who is a seller of materials and or supplies which may submit a proposal or quotation on your requirements identified in the request for proposal;
  2. then there is the Owner / Buyer which pays the invoice submitted by the Supplier — next the User / Internal Department which developed the scope of work or department that originally made the request;
  3. and last, the Purchasing Agent / Procurement Officer who owns the process or is managing the RFP / RFQ. There are others, however, they are not relevant to this discussion.

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